Briefly stated: just about anything that applies to creating new, three-dimensional products, spaces and things that take you places. In the areas of consumer product design, the following description was sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor:
“Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers focus on the user experience in creating style and function for a particular gadget or appliance.”
Broadly applied, industrial designers also imagine and design new architectural spaces, both interior and exterior for businesses, public spaces, healthcare, schools and universities, hotels and hospitality and residential homes. They also can apply their skills to creating landscapes, both real and imaginary, in the form of video gaming and the movie industry. Industrial designers typically do the following:
Consult with clients to determine requirement for designs.
Research who will use a particular product, and the various ways it might be used.
Sketch out ideas or create renderings, which are images on paper or on a computer that provide a better visual of design ideas
Use computer software to develop virtual models of different designs.
Create physical prototypes of their designs.
Examine materials and production costs to determine manufacturing requirements.
Work with other specialists such as mechanical engineers or manufacturers to evaluate whether their design concepts will fill a need at a reasonable cost.
Evaluate safety, appearance, and function to determine if a design is practical.
Present the design and demonstrate prototypes to clients for approval.